On January 1, 2012, NPS Park Ranger Margaret Anderson was killed by a veteran with a car of guns and ammuntion. The veteran entered Mt. Rainier NP through the Nisqually Entrance, ran a vehicle check for snow conditions, and encountered Ranger Anderson’s vehicle blocking the road. The veteran shot and killed Anderson before she had time to get out of her vehicle. He then went into the backcountry where he found dead from hypothermia.
Ranger Anderson blocked the highway about a mile from the Paradise Visitors center area where there were over 100 visitors and NPS employees, but at the time, no one had weapons to defend the visitors had the veteran made it past Ranger Anderson. She sacrificed her life to stop a potential massacre.
In 2010 in an amendment governing guns in National Parks tucked inside a bill on credit cards passed by Congress and signed by the President. There was nothing any NPS employee could have done to stop the veteran with a number of weapons on the back seat of his car, or let alone confiscate the weapons.
He didn’t violate any law on guns in national parks until he fired the weapons at NPS rangers, before he was stopped by ranger Anderson and shot and killed her. The veteran was reportedly suffering from PTSD from his time in the service, but his record revealed he never was near combat during his time in a combat zone.
It turned out he have mental heatlh issues before he went into the service and came out with the same issues. All the time he was able to aqcuire the weapons and ammunition before he went on his shooting and killing spree which started earlier January 1st in Seattle after which he drove to Mt. Rainier National Park.
We owe our gratitude to the employees of the NPS service for their dedication to their work and willingness to sacrifice for the safety of all visitors to National Parks, as shown by ranger Anderson. Remember to say thank you when you visit a National Park. They’re there to serve everyone.